Four Sports Journalists Die In Crash

By Vision Reporter

THREE prominent journalists with The New Vision and another with The Monitor, were killed after their vehicle collided head-on with a pick-up truck near Lugazi yesterday.

By Geoffrey Kamali and Nicholas Kajoba THREE prominent journalists with The New Vision and another with The Monitor, were killed after their vehicle collided head-on with a pick-up truck near Lugazi yesterday. Kenneth Matovu, 26, Simon Peter Ekarot, 27 and Leo Kabunga, 40, were all sports journalists with The New Vision while Francis Batte was Monitor’s deputy sports editor. The truck driver, identified only as Festo, died at Kawolo Hospital. His turn-boy, Fred Swagga, was admitted at the hospital in critical condition. Matovu has been sub-editor and columnist with Sunday Vision while Ekarot and Kabunga were sports writers. The accident occurred at about 1:40pm at Kikaula, about one kilometre away from Lugazi town, on the Jinja-Kampala highway. The Police described the spot as a death trap. The vehicles involved in the crash included Matovu’s Corona, registration number 464 UDA, and the pick-up, UAB 779S, whose owner is yet to be established. The journalists were reportedly returning from Jinja where they had a meeting of Uganda Sports Press Association (USPA) executive members. Their bodies were taken to Kawolo Hospital for a post-mortem but later transferred to the city mortuary in Kampala. Grief-stricken relatives rushed to the hospital to identify the bodies. Kabunga’s right leg was severed while Matovu, Ekarot and Batte suffered multiple head and chest injuries. The Police said the accident occurred as the journalists tried to overtake a trailer, number KAJ 284E, which was also heading towards Kampala. “They tried to overtake a trailer at a bend but realised there was an on-coming pick-up truck. To avoid a head-on collision, they swerved to the right and hit a road rail but bounced back on the road. “The pick-up truck finished them off. They died there and then. There was no chance to hear from any of them,” Mukono traffic chief Patrick Mugisha said. He said both drivers were speeding. The trailer driver, Mohammed Ali, said he saw with horror as the vehicles crashed. The wreckage of the two mangled vehicles were towed to Lugazi Police Station. The New Vision was shocked by the news and work ground to a halt. It was not clear as to who was driving the vehicle at the time of accident. The Police said they found Batte on the steering wheel but added that it should have been as a result of impact. By the time a New Vision team visited the scene, area residents masquerading as good samaritans, had stolen the dead men’s personal properties such as mobile phones and an unspecified amount of cash. This is the second major tragedy to hit the media fraternity. In May 1998, two Monitor journalists, died in a crash in Moroto in a motor rally debut. Ends

Four Sports Journalists Die In Crash